Belfast Telegraph

Actors and artists to join ‘world’s largest’ climate strike

Sir Mark Rylance and David Threlfall have called on the National Theatre to back the move.

The National Theatre on the South Bank of the River Thames in London (Justin Tallis/PA)
The National Theatre on the South Bank of the River Thames in London (Justin Tallis/PA)

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Staff from galleries and venues including the National Theatre will take to the streets, joining children and students for what is being billed as the world’s largest climate strike.

Youngsters are taking part in more than 150 demonstrations from Cornwall to Scotland and are urging people to join them to push for action to transform the economy to zero carbon.

Staff from the Tate Modern, Tate Britain and Southbank Centre have also said they will walk out and join the Global Climate Strike in London on Friday.

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Sir Mark Rylance (Ian West/PA)

Oscar-winner Sir Mark Rylance, Shameless star David Threlfall and Year Of The Rabbit’s Freddie Fox have called on the National Theatre to back the move.

Their petition has so far been signed by 72 staff.

Sir Mark is a vocal advocate for action against climate change. In June, he quit the Royal Shakespeare Company, objecting to its receipt of funding from oil company BP, which he has accused of obscuring its damaging environmental impact by supporting arts organisations.

Artists and actors will leave their workplaces at 10.30am and converge on Westminster Bridge where they will meet the striking cleaners from the Department of Business before marching on Central London.

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Schoolchildren marching through Cambridge city centre during a climate change protest (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

National Theatre staff member Katherine Hearst said: “National Theatre staff will be staging a solidarity action with the climate strikers, to initiate a dialogue with management in which we will be demanding more agency in our workplace and a say in how the theatre can contribute to the climate movement.

“The insecurity of our contracts is a barrier to many of us participating in the climate movement in our workplace.

“This will be the beginning of a discussion in which we will push for our theatre to divest from big oil sponsorship and sign the Culture Declares Emergency declaration.”

Gareth Spencer, secretary of the Southbank Centre’s branch of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), said: “In May 2019, PCS Conference declared a ‘climate emergency’, following motions from the PCS Liverpool Museums Branch.

“The union is calling on all its members’ employers to declare climate emergency – a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030, to refuse to accept fossil fuel sponsorship, to run green forums, and promote the role of Green Reps in the workplace.

“Our Tate branch’s demands were accepted by management there; PCS Southbank Centre and PCS British Museum branches have submitted similar demands.”

Worldwide, campaigners say there are more than 3,400 events planned in 120 countries, with numbers taking part expected to surpass the estimated 1.6 million people who took to the streets for a global climate strike in March.

PA

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